adidas hq Laser treatment fights pesky toenail fungus
“Oral anti fungal medications must be taken for 12 weeks and are only about 30 percent effective,” podiatrist Dr. Edward Floyd said. “They’ve got some dangerous side effects, so people taking them must have their liver tested every few weeks.”
Toenail fungus, which afflicts about 40 percent of the population, is something he’s treated for all of his 30 years in practice.
“I’ve heard that half the population of people over 40 have it,” he said. “Some people actually think they inherited it since their parents had it and they’ve had it themselves as long as they can remember.”
It’s a fungus that lives in warm, moist places and is often contracted from one’s surroundings.
“Athletes and people who wear tight fitting shoes or hosiery that cause trauma to the toes or keep the feet from drying are at higher risk,” Floyd said.
Laser treatments called Shock Wave therapy have been available in Europe for about 20 years, but have only been approved for use in this country less than half as long. The PinPointe FootLaser is even newer. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration just this year.
Floyd and another podiatrist, Dr. Donald R. Farley, established Earthfresh Health Solutions in an office on Tyler Boulevard in Mentor just for the laser foot treatments.
“I see 250 patients a week in my Painesville and Mayfield offices,” Floyd said. “Neither of us wanted to inundate our regular offices, so we established Earthfresh as an alternative clinic.”
Floyd, who was chief of podiatry services for Lake Health from 1997 to 2001, has private practice offices in Lake and Cuyahoga counties. Farley,
an Ashtabula County practitioner, is also chief of podiatric surgery at the Mentor Surgery Center and teaches clinical surgery for University Hospitals.
The patented PinPointe FootLaser has a beam that safely goes through the toenail to reduce the infection in the nail bed. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and requires no anesthesia. It gets rid of the toenail fungus in more than 80 percent of the cases, Floyd said.
“It was completely painless,” Romasco said. “It took about 35 minutes for him to do all 10 of my toes. I had the fungus in five toes on my right foot and two toes on my left foot, but he wanted to be very thorough and do them all.”
The Earthfresh practice is beginning to get many referrals from primary care physicians and calls from others who have heard about the success of the laser surgery.
“Our Shock Wave therapy treats heel spurs, jumper’s knee, shoulder tendinitis and tennis elbow in much the same way,” Floyd said. “Shockwaves break up the inflammation, which in turn causes the body to heal the injury faster. We’re using the same technology to help heal diabetic ulcers.”
He predicts that health insurance plans will likely cover the treatments, once costs come down.
“At first health insurance covered the treatments,” Floyd said. But that coverage has ended and now people must foot the nearly $1,000 cost themselves.
“When procedures have risk and aren’t especially effective, people hesitate,” he said. “But this is easy, it’s effective and people want to do it. The insurance companies just don’t want to pay for it.